This small barb comes originally from Sri Lanka and is a popular fish in the aquarium hobby. It is designated as low vulnerability conservation dependent by the IUCN, which means that there are some conservation programs in place to protect it without which it would be considered vulnerable (Pethiyagoda, 1996). There are some indications that the most brightly colored population may be being reduced in number by export for the aquarium trade (fishbase.org). Overall, this situation is very similar to that of the cherry barb, Puntius tittaya, which lives in many of the same habitats in Sri Lanka. Both fish are present in the Sinharaja forest reserve (Sinharaja forest reserve).
The black ruby barb is bred in captivity in Sri Lanka as well as being wild caught for export (Ekaratne, 2000). It is also bred in hobbyist’s tanks and instructions for breeding can be found in such places as Mongabay.com. I am not certain to what extent it is bred commercially outside of Sri Lanka.
Ekaratne, S. 2000. A Review of the status and trends of exported ornamental fish resources and their habitats in Sri Lanka. Published by Y.S. YADAVA for the Bay of Bengal Programme.ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/007/ad920e/ad920e00.pdf
Butler, R. San Francisco, CA Mongabay.com. 1999-2008. Retrieved 09 March 2009 http://fish.mongabay.com/species/Puntius_nigrofasciatus.html
Pethiyagoda, R. 1996. Puntius nigrofsciatus. In: IUCN 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 03 March 2009.
Sinharaja forest reserve. World heritage sites. United Nations environment programme and the world conservation union monitoring center. Appears to have been written post-2003. Retrieved 4 March 2009.